Battery charger problem??

Submitted: Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 19:59
ThreadID: 120017 Views:2610 Replies:11 FollowUps:0
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All Was speaking to a friend last night (not yet a member but working on it) who has experienced a problem with his Prostar which appears to be as a result of the battery charger overheating it. He had it plugged in at a powered site, went out for a while and when he came back the power was off and it was showing that it had overheated. I have not experienced this problem - has anyone else?? Any ideas??? Regards Jeff
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Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:01

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:01
G'day Jeff, I'm certainly no sparky and Nomad might be able to shed some more light on the problem. As I understand it when you turn your battery charger on the solar regulator perceives the higher voltage reading (because charger is giving out say 14.7+ on boost) as a full battery and closes down. This is why you can run them simultaneously. Maybe this sensing system on the Prostar is faulty .... are the separate sensing wires still patent ? The Prostar and the charger have diodes to stop either discharging through the other ..... one of these could be faulty ? Mate !! I'm really only guessing ..... and I've never heard of it happening. The first thing I would do (and the easiest) is to remove charger and have it tested by a sparky who is up on chargers. Next the Prostar ..... it might have to be sent to importer or their recommended repairer who would be familiar with their problems. Regards Anthony
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Reply By: Wadefarers - Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:02

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:02
Thanks Anthony, I'll pass on your observations. Bit like you - not experienced it or heard of it happening. Phil had had a look to see if he could determine any problems including as assessment of power input/usage, but to no avail. He was going to ring BTI later this week to see if they knew why. Will keep you posted. Thanks again. Regards Jeff
AnswerID: 559143

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:03

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:03
Jeff, did the system recover? If not it would be a problem with the prostar I would suggest. They are designed to shut down when overheated and maybe it just did what it was designed to do especially if the van was closed up in hot weather while at high solar output. On the subject of battery chargers, like all electronic gadgetry they dissapate heat and so must be ventilated especially at high load. Make sure if your charger is groaning away that there is plenty of ventilation and that no articles are on topof it. If installed in a cupboard or under the bed it may pay to open a door. This applies to to an inverter as well. A lot of house fires are caused by bedding or clothes left on bedside clock radios or electric blankets rolled up while swithced on. I installed an ammeter on the battery charger outout as I like to know what the hell its doing. The LEDs tell you SBA. Your battery charger is a pretty important item especially when the suns not about. As our vans are 12v only it needs to work properly. There is no reason why the battery charger cannot be operating in parrellel with the Prostar.
AnswerID: 559144

Reply By: Wadefarers - Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:04

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:04
Thanks Nomad Will give Phil a ring tonight to let him know about the replies but I know the long weekend in question he was in Dubbo and it was quite cold, so hot weather should not have been a problem. His charger is under one of the seats like mine so should be well ventilated. Will advise further. Regards Jeff
AnswerID: 559145

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:05

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:05
I am running 4 batteries in my van and when we got it BT only had a 35amp charger available. On our recent trip to Flinders Ranges we had a few cloudy days so I started the generator up and connected it to the 2 vans. When I checked the van about an hour later I found that Terry's van was charging properly and mine was not. On checking the charger I found that it was so hot that you couldn't hold your hand on the top of it, so I promptly disconnected it. On our return home I went to BT and was advised by Steve that they now recommend 50Amp charger for 4 battery set up so I upgraded to a new 50 amp charger which appears to be operating correctly. Our charger is under the bad and I have a vent to the side next to the charger, and I made up a wooden cover about 50mm above top of charger so that nothing can sit on top of the charger when it is operating and cause it to overheat.
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Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:06

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:06
MMMMmm !! Time for a fan Brian .... This is my opinion but any charger over 25-30 amp should have a cooling fan operated by a thermistor. Sounds like the charger (35amp one) doesnt have thermal overload protection .... either ? Put a temperature strip on the top of the new charger .... if it goes over 60 C enclose it and put a 125mm12v van at one end . Keep an eye on the temp strip with fan system ... 50 C or under is a nice charger temp. Better way to go would be to get an auto elec to mount fan on one end and grille at the other .... when charger is on ... fan is on ... charger not enclosed then. You could do grille and fan mount get elec to wire ... Jaycar has some great fans. Regards Anthony
AnswerID: 559147

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:07

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:07
Just back from walking 100 km up the coast with a big mob of Aboriginal mates. Been eating goanna, bush honey and all sorts of things you'd probably not want to know about.

One highlight was some poor bugger illegally camped in a motorhome - he looked out of his window early in the morning - to see a score or two of large Aboriginal gentlemen carrying spears (real ones). His face was a picture!

Re battery chargers etc. These things are about 70% efficient - which implies that 30% is lost in heat. If say there's a 50 amp 12 volt charger (600 watts) running flat out there's 200 watts of heat to dissipate. So you need a fan.

Charging at the same time that a solar regulator is connected and producing output MAY cause unwanted interaction (each source tends to regard the other as a charged battery) but should not result in any damage because (as Anthony says) each device is protected by diodes.

Is it possible however that the charger was connected in parallel with the solar modules?. Some people do this in an attempt to simulate a smart battery charger. It can work with some regulators - but it's not generally advisable -particularly if the charger has capacitive smothing.

If serious about battery charging it's worth spending a fair bit of money (actually a heap of money) and buying a 'smart charger'. It's only too easy to wreck batteries using the cheaper simpler units - and a smart charger can be safely left permanently connected even if the 'van is off the road for months on end.
Collyn Rivers
AnswerID: 559148

Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:08

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:08
I have a Bainbridge technologies Trucharge40 charger which I consider to be one of the better around. Collyn is right about price ..... 1300ish. It has a amps/heat activated fan .... has six charging regimes ..... has an optional battery probe to sense battery temperature .... has a remote panel option to see amps/volts if charger is hidden ..... can charge two batteries/banks at different states of charge at the same time. It is obviously a smart charger and can be left on permanently. This is my spare I carry in BT. I intend to swap over .... I still have BT charger in my BT as I rarely use it .... have 4 x 120w panels. My BT charger now has a fan (with switch) also has a thermal switch now that cuts power at 70c and resumes at 58c. Anthony
AnswerID: 559149

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:09

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:09
Anthony Where did you find a wife that will let you buy all these nice things? You have certainly managed to con Cindy into a lot of nice big boys toys. How do you do it. Brian
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Reply By: Deleted User - Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:10

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:10
Brian, There is no bottomless pit that is for sure. The money I save by doing most things myself allows (probably in my mind "justifies") to buy some goodies. After the BT arrived home I wanted a spare charger/better charger so I've had it for some time. Take latest projects ....... Fabricated aluminium tube on rear of BT for poles .... Quote was $700 I made it for $150 and is lockable. Nomad has his eye on it already ! [wink] Bike rack quote was $200 .... done for $90. Custom timber ladder for Amy to get up in bunk $220 .... doing now for $60. Camera install Quote was $340 .... done for $40. CDMA 6db gain antenna install with bracketing would be $300 ... save 200 there. The list goes on ..... Cindy has only time for one hobby .... Camping ! This is the beauty of the group ...... I can thank Ernie, Pete and Bob for the CDMA advice and pics of installs. John Richter for showing me his install of a Clarion camera system. Yourself for me seeing the tube on rear of BT. Robert Jones for Bringing his Honda genny over for me to do some testing. et al etc etc. Now that new WRX Imprezza STI 6 speed in Met Blue sure fell on deaf ears ..... but dear I have to drive Amy to High School in 3 years ..... WALK was the reply ! Anthony
AnswerID: 559151

Reply By: Noosa Fox - Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:11

Wednesday, Jul 09, 2003 at 20:11
Anthony, its tuff having to crawl to she who must be obeyed.. You will have to tell Cindy how much more efficient your business would be with an IBM computer so you can rather than (smile) and not (cry) when Mr Microsoft wont let you apple users have full access to his system. Brian
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